I remember at my former church when we had general member meetings, the pastor would always call out those who did not tithe. He didn’t call them out by name (thank God), but his comments would make any member who was not a regular tithe payer feel awful.
He also mentioned members who tithe but didn’t tithe the full amount of their gross. The church had mostly military members and since the pastor was a retired First Sergeant, once he knew the ranks of his members he knew how much they got paid.
Then he went on to say he prays even more for those who tithe faithfully as if regular tithe payers are better members who get better benefits of prayer from the Bishop himself. I imagine the church’s membership ad being like this:
Monthly tithe payers who pay 10% of their gross receive extra prayers from the Bishop.
Members who donate a monthly offering receive prayers from the Deacon board.
Members who do not tithe receive prayer from fellow members.
Attendees who do not wish to become members receive a warm welcome and the word of God.
It made me feel uncomfortable to know that the Bishop prayed more for faithful tithe payers than anyone else. It just sounded like they’re paying for extra blessings and that they’re the premium members of the church like the difference between a basic member and a gold star member.
So why is it that people are okay with paying for every membership except their membership with the church?
Because we are taught that grace is free. We are taught that Jesus died for our sins, not our offerings. The Bible isn’t only accessible inside a church. Like Costco and Sams Club, you have to be a member to walk inside and buy their products. You don’t have to walk inside a church to find God.
We are taught that the church is a place for healing. But before you get healed get your money right, right?
If you walk into a gym and use their equipment and tell the manager that you’re not going to pay a monthly fee, the manager has a right to kick you out and tell you that you can’t come back and use the equipment until you agree to pay a monthly fee.
Imagine you choose to become a member of a church and tell them that you’re not going to pay tithes or give any sort of monetary offerings, but your time, skills, and efforts are 100% committed. The church can’t kick you out, but I’m sure most churches would wish you not come back. At least I know that is how one of my previous church would act.
But I get that churches need money to operate too. The water and electricity in a church does not merely run on grace and prayers. Churches have bills too. Churches need money to have community events that require food and services. If churches didn’t need money to operate then that means Christians would not have jobs because our lives wouldn’t need money to operate either.
And thats what motivates me to give my tithes and offerings by knowing my money helps keep the church doors open. Believe it or not but many churches have had to close because lack of funds. This is why I like to attend small churches. Benefits of a small church is that the pastor can get to know you better, you build closer relationships with the members, and you feel like your money matters.
I’m not a rich man so my 10% will benefit a small church far greater than a mega church where many members make 10x as much as I do, and the church receives tens of thousands of dollars in donations.
When I visit a church and give my tithes and offerings I feel like I’m helping that church continue their mission, continue helping the community, and continue providing luxuries for their members like child care and retreats.
When people talk about you’re required to tithe 10% and if God can’t trust you with the money you have now then he’s not going to bless you with more money, that stuff doesn’t motivate me to tithe. In fact, it just sounds like you’re trying to scare people into tithing. Like if you don’t tithe with your $1,000 paycheck then God will never bless you to make a seven-figure salary.
Have you ever read a Forbes list where someone contributed tithing to them becoming a millionaire? I haven’t.
I believe God gave me skills, knowledge, and a work ethic that will determine the maximum salary I can achieve whether I tithe or not. I mean I’ve heard all kinds of stories of people who said once they started tithing they saw monetary blessings. Maybe they got promoted, ran across a $100 bill on the floor, or was blessed with knowledge and discipline to make better decisions with their money.
I don’t know all the ways God blesses people for tithing, or if He even does. I just know what motivates me to tithe, feeling like my money matters to the church and that it can do great things to help the church grow.